No. 1 Bruins Host UCI in 2003 Season Opener

Jan. 13, 2003

On Tap . . .
The No. 1-ranked UCLA men's tennis team will host UC Irvine in the season opener for both teams this Wednesday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Bruins lead the all-time series, 26-2. This weekend, half the team will be at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. and the other half will be competing locally at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup. Defending NCTC champion Rodrigo Grilli will be joined by Erfan Djahangiri, Marcin Matkowski and Alberto Francis at in Las Vegas. Tobias Clemens, Lassi Ketola, Chris Lam, Chris Surapol and Aaron Yovan will be all competing at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup. Clemens is the defending champ at Sherwood.

ITA Picks UCLA Preseason No. 1 . . .
With 29 of 41 first-place votes, the UCLA men's tennis team was picked No. 1 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) in its preseason rankings released Monday. UCLA, which returns every player from a team that advanced to the NCAA Semifinals in 2002, was joined in the top-5 by Illinois, Baylor Stanford and Florida.

ITA Preseason Top-251. UCLA (29)	2. Illinois (8)3. Baylor (2)4. Stanford5. Florida6. Georgia7. USC (2)8. Mississippi9. Kentucky10. California11. Duke12. Texas13. Texas A&M14. Tennessee15. Auburn16. VCU17. Alabama18. Pepperdine19. Minnesota20. Washington21. South Florida22. South Carolina23. Wake Forest24. Ohio State25. Mississippi State

(first-place votes in parenthesis)

Clemens Debuts at No. 12 in Fall Singles Rankings . . .
In addition to the preseason team rankings, fall individual rankings were also released Monday. Junior Tobias Clemens was ranked No. 12 in the nation followed by No. 38 Erfan Djahangiri and No. 40 Chris Lam. In doubles play, Clemens and senior Lassi Ketola check in at No. 39.

UCLA Home Matches Live Via the Internet . . .
All UCLA home matches can be followed live at UCLA's official athletic website Fans can access the matches by clicking on the 'Live Stats' link in the Events Calendar on the front page or by going into the men's tennis schedule.

2003 Schedule . . .
Not counting the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors in February, the Bruins are scheduled to face six teams ranked in the ITA Preseason Top-25. UCLA has regular-season matches against; No. 4 Stanford, No. 7 USC, No. 9 Kentucky, No. 10 Cal, No. 20 Washington and No. 24 Ohio State.

Upperclassmen to Lead the Way in 2003 . . .
The Bruins return seven players from a year ago, all of whom saw significant time in the singles and doubles lineups. Throw in a sophomore transfer, along with one of the top freshmen classes in the country, and it's no wonder the Bruins are preseason favorites to take home the NCAA Championship. Battling for the top spot in the singles lineup will be senior Jean-Julien Rojer and junior Tobias Clemens. Rojer, who took the fall off to compete on the futures circuit, was the Bruins top player in 2001 and is coming off his second-straight All-America campaign. Clemens, who was ranked No. 2 in the preseason, was UCLA's top player last season. Also battling for a spot in the top-half of the lineup is Marcin Matkowski. The junior from Poland played primarily at the No. 3 spot in 2002 and was ranked No. 12 in the preseason. Two players who will be pushing for time in the top-half of the lineup, as both enjoyed tremendous success in fall play, are senior Erfan Djahangiri and sophomore transfer Chris Lam. Djahangiri and Lam are ranked Nos. 38 and 40 respectively in the fall rankings. One player whose position in the lineup depends on his health is senior Rodrigo Grilli, the defending Pac-10 singles champion. Slowed by a groin injury suffered in the off-season, he sat out the fall but is expected to be back at full strength by the start of the dual-match season in January. Senior Lassi Ketola and sophomore Alberto Francis are two other returnees that will likely see significant time in the lineup. Three freshmen who will be battling the returnees for playing time in the singles lineup are Aaron Yovan, Chris Surapol and Travis Kinard. All three were top junior players in Southern California and are considered the future of UCLA tennis. Rounding out the lineup in 2003 are sophomore Nick Kreiss, and freshmen Jason Nguyen and Lance Jackson.

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